It was a classic case of the learning-on-the-job youngsters pitted against the sage veterans. In an exciting game full of runs by both squads, it was the heady play of the Boston Celtics’ aging stars that propelled their team to a 110-107 overtime win over the youthtful Utah Jazz on Monday.
Thanks to a solid 27-20 second-quarter effort, the Jazz enjoyed a 53-48 halftime lead. Once again, as was the case versus the Los Angeles Clippers, it was the third quarter that proved to be Utah’s downfall. Boston outscored Utah 32-19 in a dominant performance. The Jazz admirably battled back, but expended a lot of energy in doing so. As a result, they became a bit more reliant on jump shots, jump shots that were not falling down the stretch.
Cagey Vets: In the offseason, the Big Three became the Big Two, as Boston sharpshooter Ray Allen took his talents to South Beach. While they are not consistently dominant anymore, both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett showed they still have something in the tank.
While the Celtics received solid nights by Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, and Jason Terry, it was the pair of future Hall of Famers who were clutch Monday night. The first three quarters were fairly pedestrian for Pierce, but he put his team on his shoulders in the fourth quarter and overtime period. He hit tough jumper after tough jumper and held his own on defense. He finished his evening with 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Garnett’s stat line was nothing to write home about, but beyond the 13 points and 10 rebounds were some high-IQ plays. Prime evidence was the his decision to foul Paul Millsap with 4.2 seconds left and Utah trailing by three. It prevented a potential game-tying 3-pointer, while seemingly taking the wind out of the Jazz’s sails.
Odds and Ends:
• The Utah Jazz starting backcourt has a grand total of eight points in the past two games. Earl Watson supplanted Jamaal Tinsley in the starting lineup Monday, with the latter not seeing any playing time.
• Despite missing their lead guards in Rajon Rondo and Mo Williams, both teams are firmly in the playoff races in their respective conferences.
• Gordon Hayward single-handedly outscored the Boston bench 26-24.
• After scoring just 13 points in the previous four outings (with 11 of those coming in one game), Marvin Williams had a nice bounce-back game with 15 points in 26 minutes.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.